This article was originally published in Edition (16) of Prayer Magazine, Jan 2009.

Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!–Max Lucado.

The movement of prayer has been a growing, deepening ‘river’ that has been seeping into and sweeping through our nations over recent years. It is involving Christians from all denominations and all age groups. Much of what has been happening has been underground and hidden, but there is a real sense that as the battle for the soul of our nations intensifies, God is calling for a new commitment to prayer and action from across His church so that we can see His Kingdom come.

The Prayer Forum journey

The Prayer Forum is a group of Christians from Scotland, N Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, England and Channel Islands, who have met to pray and work together over the past 14+ years. The group has facilitated annual and biannual conferences drawing together leaders with a heart for prayer (administered first by the Evangelical Alliance and for the past 3 years by the World Prayer Centre, Birmingham). At each meeting or conference the Lord has always encouraged us to go deeper in understanding of both our unity and our diversity as His children in the Body of Christ across these nations; challenging us to repentance about issues that have caused hurt; giving us deeper insights into how to pray for issues.

A few years ago the Lord challenged the group from his word that he was calling for a deeper unity between Christians from the different nations and islands. These scriptures have been foundational in all that the Prayer Forum is seeking to be and do:

Zephaniah 3.9: ‘Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder’. Romans 15.5-6: ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Standing shoulder to shoulder indicates relationship, trust and understanding. Unity to follow Jesus means that these values of acknowledging, submitting, serving, encouraging and standing with one another in the Body of Christ are foundational to how the Prayer Forum will develop.

Our vision

We are working towards 24-7 prayer mobilisation across every part of society and every geographical area of our nations. We want to see all those currently involved in prayer mobilisation linked together and connected so that we can invite more of the body of Christ to join.

Our vision is to see unified prayer linking up all the different prayer groups, initiatives and organisations across our nations.

For example, there are currently different seasons of prayer taking place across our nations. There are organisations that run national days of prayer, for example World Prayer Centre. Many churches and groups take part in Lent prayer initiatives. In recent years Prayer Week and for the last 3 years the Global Day of Prayer has seen a number of different initiatives connect up to pray for different areas of the life of our nations during the month of May. The season of Ramadan has been undergirded with prayer. Many churches pray in the lead up to Christmas in Advent. Other initiatives, for example Friday Focus, which has been highlighting themes for each Friday ahead of and during Hope08; the different expressions of 24-7 prayer, healing rooms and the houses of prayer that are springing up - as well as all that takes place in prayer groups in local churches all can be linked together. Our vision would be to ensure that all initiatives that are mobilizing prayer for our nations are publicised and resources shared.

2009 Prayer Forum website

It soon became clear that one of the best ways to develop this unity and connect all the praying, is to provide a website that will link up all the different initiatives and so provide resources and prayer information to be accessed by all who wish to pray in groups and churches.

The website – whose start- up costs have been met by the generosity of praying Chrsitians across our nations – was launched at the World Prayer Centre Trumpet Call VII on 21st June 2008.

We are inviting anyone with a heart for prayer to link in—as an individual, a family, a group of friends, a small group, a church, organisation or network. As churches, organisations and networks register we will then be able to provide a calendar of events, details of prayer resources, links to prayer ministries across British Isles and Ireland and with the rest of the global movement for prayer. We will be asking those who link in to support this work through prayer and financial donations.

For example, currently God is speaking to a number of different groups about the need to pray for our neighbours. It has been a theme in Friday Focus for the past 18 months and we now have details of 5 different initiatives; one from the Salvation Army Pray Your Postcode, one covering the whole of Scotland Lighthouses of Prayer, one started from Hope08 team in Greater Manchester Hope for your Neighbours, another called Neighbourhood Prayer Watch and another Light in your Street. With the Prayer Forum website we will be able to publicise these resources and so help others who are being led to pray for their communities in this way.

Our goals

We want to promote and facilitate prayer for the transformation of every area of society Including: Business, commerce & agriculture; Church; Education; Family; Communities & social justice; Politics– Monarchy & Government; Health; law & order; Media, fashion, arts & entertainment; Sport & recreation.

For example, we are aware of prayer initiatives that cover the environment, for families and marriage, for arts, media and entertainment industries, in health, law and order, in local and national government, in the workplace, and in education. We know of many initiatives mobilising prayer geographically in villages, towns and cities, counties and regions in Scotland, England, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, Wales, Republic of Ireland. As leaders of organisations, denominations, churches and networks are invited (over the next few months) to link into the Prayer Forum website, we will then have more of a picture of what is happening in prayer.

We want to encourage world-wide prayer for the British Isles and Ireland. Many Christians are being led by the Holy Spirit to pray for the UK/Britain/Ireland but find it hard to find out what are the issues to pray for. By linking up with the Prayer Forum we can provide information or links to prayer information needed.

The Prayer Forum & the local Church

The aim of the Prayer Forum website is to serve Christians where they live, work and worship. In order to encourage prayer people need both information about what to pray for) and motivation(why prayer is needed which can be done using teaching from scripture or testimonies/stories of answered prayer). Some churches struggle to make prayer a priority and find it hard to know where to get up to date information for prayer groups and prayer meetings. We want to ensure that busy church leaders can find stories of prayer and testimonies from individuals on the website. As more churches appoint prayer co-ordinators (or mobilisers) we also want to facilitate a network among these co-ordinators to enable the sharing of ideas and resources.

Resources

Our aim is to publicise (and if need be commission) prayer resources that help focussed prayer. About two years ago, the Prayer Forum group (previously called The Prayer Association) commissioned a weekly email prayer resource taking current stories and providing prayer information. Prayer Alert is being used by many individuals, groups and churches www.prayeralert.net to focus prayer for current issues. This Prayer Magazine is an official publication of the Prayer Forum. And we are always on the look out for new resources which we will profile both in Prayer Magazine and on the Prayer Forum website as they emerge.

Praying for our nations  

‘We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties’ Oswald Chambers (2 Chronicles 20.12)  

There is a real urgency in the heart of the Father for his children to turn to him and seek his face. As we approach the end of 2008, with over 1480 different locations involved in reaching out with the good news of Jesus in word and deed with Hope08, we need to be encouraged to go on praying and working to share the good news of Jesus.  

He is asking us to open the gates for righteousness across our nations (Isaiah 25:2,4) and to close the gates for all that goes against His will • He is asking us to trust—in his promises, his provision— both individually and corporately as we continue to pray (Isaiah 26:3-5) • He is asking us to walk with Him and wait on Him for understanding, revelation and strength (Isaiah 26:8a) • He is asking us to guard the name and renown of his son Jesus —so often abused and defamed in our society (Isaiah 26:8b) • He is asking us to pray and seek his face night and day in the tension of his judgement and mercy (Isaiah 26:9) Our prayer is that the Prayer Forum will be able to play its part in seeing the transformation we long for, because He ‘is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen’ (Ephesians 3.20)  

Will you join us to make our vision of united prayer across our nations a reality? 

Jane HollowayDirector, Prayer Forum

National Prayer Director,

World Prayer Centre,

Birmingham 

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